20 August 2012

Rwanda: Census Gets Under Way, Citizens Cooperating

On the second day of the two-week National Population and Housing Census, the National Institute of Statistics has commended citizens' collaboration.

"Citizens are so far cooperating. We appreciate their assistance and wish it stays so," said Prosper Mutijima, the Census coordinator.

He told The Rwanda Focus that he has so far inspected Kigali city, where, on the first day of the census, enumerators finished their job around 8pm. Mutijima was at the time of the interview supervising the census at Rushashi.

"We have so far assessed that one enumerator can do an average of 12 households per day. But this doesn't exclude that there are those who went beyond that enumerating more than 14 households on the first day," he observed. However, Mutijima said that in some areas, enumerators have counted only 8 households. "It is understandable, because in such areas our agents have to walk considerable distances due to households living quite separated."

According to Mutijima, this issue poses as a challenge but appropriate measures have been taken. "Rwanda's geography is sometimes challenging to our enumerators, especially in some zones mainly in Eastern province, where villages are sometimes much bigger than even sectors in other districts. To make it easier for our enumerators to finish their job, we have provided them with bicycles."

Cities, on the other hand, have their own challenges, Mutijima said. "People are always busy doing business or in their offices, and return home a bit late. That's why in Kigali yesterday we closed at around 8 pm. We hope that we'll be done in our limited period of time."

Moreover, the census coordinator urges citizens to honestly answer the census questionnaire, because they should know that the information provided is solely to serve national planning efforts. A total of 2.7 million questionnaires have been prepared for the census.

Wednesday night (15- 16 August) was the census night, meaning that the questions should be replied to referring to that moment.

Rwanda's geography is sometimes challenging to our enumerators, especially in some zones mainly in Eastern province, where villages are sometimes much bigger than even sectors in other districts.

"We are fully equipped, in logistical and human resource sense. Funds are available," Mutijima stated, adding that a total number of 24,422 enumerators have been recruited, trained and readied for the exercise.

Preparatory work began two years ago in 2010, with the preparation of the project document, mapping, and budget. The systems have been pre-tested, and the whole country was mapped by opening boundaries of all administrative units and zoning of enumeration area. "We have a total of 16,715 enumeration zones," said Mutijima.

Preparation activities, execution and publication of the results cost around US$ 27 Million (Frw 16,335,000,000). The data collection will be followed by data processing and analysis, and the final result is to be published within 10 months from the census day (August 16), probably in July 2013.

Due to the fact that the process is quite costly, it takes place once in a decade. In Rwanda, the latest was conducted in 2002, and put the population at 8,128,553. However, recent estimates indicate that the population has surpassed 11 million.

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